ITIL stands for the IT Infrastructure Library and was originally developed by the UK Government. It has become the most widely accepted framework for implementing good practice in IT Service Management (ITSM) leading to its adoption in many organisations in the UK and overseas.
ITIL is the most widely accepted approach to IT Service Management in the world, providing a cohesive set of good practice guidance drawn from the public and private sectors across the world.
The ITIL philosophy grew up around the guidance contained within the ITIL core books and the supporting professional qualifications scheme. In the 1990s, the ITIL core books were updated to Version 2 and accompanying qualifications were developed by ISEB and EXIN in agreement with the then official accreditor, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC), and the user's forum, the IT Service Management Forum (itSMF).
However, in line with the fast developing nature of the industry, Service Management as a concept evolved, so in 2004 the OGC decided it was time to refresh the ITIL guidance. The ITIL Refresh project began back in November 2004 with the aim of improving the usefulness and applicability of ITIL, and clarifying the link between employment of the best practices and business benefits.
Each of the five books (Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation and Continual Service Improvement) was reviewed by almost 50 representatives of industry, representing different sized companies and various sectors, in public and private enterprise.
Over the years ITIL has evolved because service management practices have changed due to new knowledge, technical innovation and thought leadership. ITIL V3 reflects this.
The new qualifications were developed in line with the new publications launched in June 2007 and have been designed to tailor a candidate's V3 education and certification specific to their skills and needs.
One of most common questions asked is whether peoples' V2 qualifications will still be valid. The easy answer is yes and there are now a number of ways that people can see how V2 qualifications are included in the new scheme.
The key point is that Version 3 articulates the relationship between IT and the business far more clearly than earlier versions of ITIL.
Instead of focusing on processes as in Version 2, Version 3 considers a wider view of IT by considering the lifecycle of a service from its initial planning, which should be aligned to business need, through to its final retirement. This allows a more thorough treatment of strategic options, functions, roles and responsibilities as well as continual improvement. The processes remain and have been improved.
ITIL V3 Also looks more closely at alignment with other best practices and standards. The differences in the definitions of Service Management between the two versions illustrate this well.
ITIL V2: A set of integrated processes that underpins core business processes by linking infrastructure management with business need.
ITIL V3: A set of specialised organisational capabilities for providing value to customers in the form of services.
The processes remain and have been expanded and improved:
ITIL Version 2 : 10 Processes and 1 Function
ITIL Version 3 : 24 Processes and 6 Functions